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Monday, December 07, 2015
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Investigating collisionless plasmas using continuum kinetic simulations

Genia Vogman
University of California, Berkeley

Plasma kinetic theory treats each constituent species as a probability distribution function in phase space. Numerically, the velocity dependence of the distribution function can be sampled discretely as in particle-in-cell methods, or represented smoothly as in continuum methods. Continuum methods for solving kinetic theory governing equations are advantageous in that they can be cast in conservation-law form, are not susceptible to noise, and can be implemented using high-order numerical methods, which provide enhanced solution accuracy. A fourth-order accurate finite-volume method has been developed to solve the continuum kinetic Vlasov-Poisson and Vlasov-Maxwell equation systems using the Chombo library. The evolving species are collisionless, and are coupled through electromagnetic fields. The algorithm is validated against theoretical predictions for a magnetized plasma using a newly-developed benchmark based on the Dory-Guest-Harris instability. Extension of the algorithm to cylindrical coordinates and its application to axisymmetric Z-pinch plasma confinement are described.

Host: Luis Chacon